Which was most the lady?
“Did you ever see such a queer looking figure?” exclaimed a young lady, speaking loud enough to be heard by the object of her remark. She was riding slowly along in an open carriage, a short distance from the city, accompanied by a relative. The young man, her companion, looked across the, road at a woman, whose attire was certainly not in any way very near approach to the fashion of the day. She had on a faded calico dress, short in the waist; stout leather shoes; the remains of what had once been a red merino long shawl, and a dingy old Leghorn bonnet of the style of eighteen hundred and twenty.
As the young man turned to look at the woman, the latter raised her eyes and fixed them steadily upon the young lady who had so rudely directed towards her the attention of her companion. Her face, was not old nor faded, as the dress she wore. It was youthful, but plain almost to homeliness; and the smallness of her eyes, which were close together and placed at the Mongolian angle, gave to her countenance a singular aspect.
“How do you do, aunty?” said the young man gently drawing on the rein of his horse so as still further to diminish his speed.
The face of the young girl—for she was quite young—reddened, and she slackened her steps so as to fall behind the rude, unfeeling couple, who sought to make themselves merry at her expense.
“She is gypsy!” said the young lady, laughing.
“Gran’mother! How are catnip and hoarhound, snakeroot and tansy, selling to-day? What’s the state of the herb market?” joined the young man with increasing rudeness.
“That bonnet’s from the ark—ha! ha!”
“And was worn by the wife of Shem, Ham or Japheth. Ha! now I’ve got it! This is the great, great, great granddaughter of Noah. What a discovery! Where’s Barnum? Here’s a chance for another fortune!”
The poor girl made no answer to this cruel and cowardly assault, but turned her face away, and stood still, in order to let the carriage pass on.
“You look like a gentleman and a lady,” said a man whom was riding by, and happened to overhear some of their last remarks; “and no doubt regard yourselves as such. But your conduct is anything but gentlemanly and lady-like; and if I had the pleasure of knowing your friends, I would advise them to keep you in until you had sense and decency enough not to disgrace yourselves and them!”
A fiery spot burned instantly on the young man’s face, and fierce anger shot from his eyes. But the one who had spoken so sharply fixed upon him a look of withering contempt, and riding close up to the carriage, handed him his card, remarking coldly, as he did so,—
“I shall be pleased to meet you again, sir. May I ask your card in return?”
The young man thrust his hand indignantly into his pocket, and fumbled there for some moments, but without finding a card.